champs elysée
quiet days in c.

By Adrian Kasnitz

Translation Catherine Hales

champs elysée

businessmen in limousines
looking for somewhere to park with the lazy gaze
of parking meters
the attentiveness of these meters
coins sleeping inside them like children
sleepyhead       coins waiting for princes from america
like sad dogs waiting for a beating from the chef
restaurants
that sparkle & give you the brush-off
waitresses in skimpy thoughts
who serve you & sling you out
the time is told
& sticks as though snagged in a busstop
the very last bus has already gone
& two people stranded with oversized
rucksacks as though they were carrying granite
a road sweeper
with the marseillaise on his thick lips
homewards after sweeping away the enemy

quiet days in c.

on these quiet days       far from cliché
when all we can do is wonder       & try
not to do ourselves in with love like we used to
we easily lose all feel for proportion
the pain of the sensible way